Bahamians say no to gambling

‘No Vote’ campaigners in The Bahamas.
‘No Vote’ campaigners in The Bahamas.

NASSAU — Voters of The Bahamas have voted overwhelmingly against the regularisation and taxation of web shops and the establishment of a national lottery.

With a good number of the 38 constituencies reporting, the rejection of the two referendum questions was clear, unofficial results showed.

North Andros and the Berry Islands was the first constituency to report fully with 582 ‘no’ votes to the web shop question and 322 ‘yes’ votes.

That constituency had 598 ‘no’ votes to the national lottery question and 300 ‘yes’ votes.

Initial results, however, from the Bains Town and Grants Town Constituency showed the ‘yes’ vote won.

The constituency reported 1,170 ‘yes’ votes for web shop gaming and 699 ‘no’ votes. It reported 899 ‘yes’ votes for the national lottery and 682 ‘no’ votes.

Centreville Constituency also showed the ‘yes’ vote won.

The No Vote campaign expressed great sastisfaction in the initial results of the referendum.

“I am not surprised,” said Dr. Ranford Patterson, president of the Bahamas Christian Council.

“Bahamians were able to see through all the gifts and stuff that they (the Vote Yes campaign) were doing, the bribery that they were trying to do. Our message played a major role in this.

“This is a major victory for the church.”

Island Luck CEO Sebas Bastian said this was a strong rejection for the yes vote.

“Obviously, I would have preferred a yes vote,” Bastian said.

“I am disappointed in the low number of people who were interested in the process.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be that low. It really speaks to the fact that the people rejected the process, not gambling.

“Unfortunately, it was made political. I feel bad for my employees who are now in limbo. I will hustle and survive somehow, but what will they do?”

Asked if his web shops will open tomorrow, he said, “I am still watching the results. I haven’t made a decision.”

Outspoken pastor Rev. Dr. Philip McPhee, who supported a ‘yes’ vote, said he too was disappointed and concerned for the employees of web shops.

“The people have spoken,” McPhee said. (Nassau Guardian)

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